The party line, when gambling came to Atlantic City in 1978 was that gambling revenue would revitalize a crumbling Atlantic City. Atlantic City by then was past its “sell by” date, a city in decline, it’s glory years a distant memory, it’s road map immortalized by Monopoly (you do know, don’t you, that the streets in Monopoly come from the map of Atlantic City?)
Thirty-five years later, if you try to make the case that the gap has indeed shrunk between the glitz of the casinos and the general depression in the rest of the city, it would be easier to make the case that the old casinos have deteriorated rather than trying to argue that the city has itself been enhanced.
But that doesn’t mean that people have given up on Atlantic City. I had an opportunity to tour the new Arts Garage in AC.
The Arts Garage is a collaborative effort of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, the NJ State Council on the Arts, Stockton College and the Noyes Museum of Art. “The Noyes Arts Garage Stockton College is the cornerstone of the new Arts District in Atlantic City with a mission to promote education, provide resources for emerging artists, and enrich the community. The Arts Garage houses 15 artist studios, galleries, shops, a café, a flexible classroom studio, and hosts special events throughout the year. It includes a 1,200 square ft. satellite gallery of The Noyes Museum of Art, and is the new home of the African American Heritage Museum and Atlantic City Arts Center.” (artsgarageac.com)
My friend Jen, who works at the Arts Garage gave me a tour of the facility.
It’s rare that I go to Atlantic City. As my friends know all too well, for me, the casinos are not a destination. A developing Arts District, however, with the Arts Garage as a hub, would bring me to AC. Best of luck to all involved. I hope that you’ll be a big success.